Why Times Square?

Why Times Square? That is a ubiquitous question that people ask me every time I used to talk about the study object of this piece of research. Times Square now, the current version we have of this place, looks like a location where one cannot find anything serious for conducting an academic piece of research. It seems like an infertile field utterly dependent on external forces, but at the same time, an exhausted and packed and sealed one under the label of either gentrification-Disneyfication or the official one of revitalization. The usage of each one of those two terms depends on who is telling the story of this site. However, in both versions, Times Square appears like a finished object, a black boxed location without so much to offer.

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Diluting Citizenship. A first approach to the Smart City concept

The vignettes of the Coca-Cola 3D Billboard and the WIFI kiosks are sharing some common elements, besides the obvious point that they can be traced in the Times Square of my piece of research. Those elements can be gathered into a context of “experimentation in urban places.” (Gieryn, 2006Karvonen & van Heur, 2014Silver & Marvin, 2016) This particular conception of experimenting in either “cities” or “urban locations” is nowadays a global trend, presented sometimes in the shape of “smart city,” and that involves many different actors, conceptions, capitals, and processes. 

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Lights still on

It was almost midnight, and the air was unusually cold due to some sporadic showers during the night. I was seated on a concrete bench in front of an empty and under remodeling spot between Broadway Avenue and W. 47th Street. After midnight, when the area is less transited, a group of workers starts its shift that consists in adapting and restyling the bare commercial place for a new branch of Swarovski. During the day, the construction remains closed. However, at nights, and despite the work is carried out inside, one can see from the sidewalk the lights and sparks going out of the welding machine, as well as the men doing their handiwork. 

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